2016 will probably forever be remembered as The Worst, but at least I read great books? It’s been a while since I stopped setting specific reading goals. Now I just try to branch out in new areas. Here’s how 2016 shaped up for me.
Started reading comics
I never read comics as a kid. (Unless you count those massive Shonen Jump compilations; I loved those!) But in 2016, as more buzz was surrounding characters I loved and as I defended comics and graphic novels as a worthy format for young readers, I tried to incorporate them into my own reading life. I got a comixology account based on an awesome Twitter reco and it really made buying comics so much easier. I dabbled in series I thought I would like and tried ones I had never heard of. I discovered that I don’t like reading digitally but don’t want to invest in going all the way to the comic book shop unless I know I want the series. I also learned (after several such trips to the comic book shop) that I really do prefer reading trade editions. Single issues feel like a tease.
I read all three collections of Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man and loved them! Miles is such an excellent character and I do hope to see him in other Marvel media soon. Then I burned through all of Sex Criminals. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed that series. Very weird and hilariously inappropriate but also poignant and heart-warming? I stopped reading when it reached the hiatus. Not sure if I’ll pick it back up again. Don’t want to ruin the magic, yknow. I also started reading Rat Queens and really liked it but the issues surrounding the creators made me put it on the backburner. I think I’ll do a bit more research to see if it is worth revisiting the series.
Read a lot of books about South Africa
Is South Africa having a moment in North American publishing? This year I read 4 books set in South
Africa and know of 2 more that are forthcoming in 2017 and 2018. My favourites were Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and When Morning Comes by Arushi Raina. I am always curious about how Blackness is shaped and experienced in different contexts and Noah’s memoir is an excellent portrayal of his experience. The language around race in South Africa is very different from what I know and I was fascinated to learn more. Raina’s book is YA historical fiction but, man oh man, it read like a dystopian novel. Zanele is the badass-give no fucks-take down the oppressor black girl protagonist I have been waiting for all these years. If I could, I would press this book into peoples’ hands like a grandma slipping you birthday money. It’s that good.
66 books logged on Goodreads (this does not include manuscripts I read for work)
33 books by people of color (29 unique authors): 50%
- 24 books by women of color (21 unique authors): 38%
- 10 books by black women (10 unique authors): 15%
I think comics is what messed up my ratio. (Yes, I consider 50% low.) I read 24 comics this year (36%), 18 of which were about people of color. But only 8 were by people of color. So. This really reinforces how important it is for me to focus on creators rather than characters.